If you have a medical condition that prevents you from working, you may have serious concerns about how you will pay your bills. On top of those normal expenses, you likely have mountains of medical bills. If your condition is chronic or progressive, you may expect your need for medical care to continue or even increase as time passes.
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is an option if you have a work history that includes paying into the Social Security system and if your medical condition is expected to prevent you from working for at least one year. While obtaining SSDI can be a very long process, you may have an especially desperate situation. Fortunately, some conditions qualify for fast-track approval.
What is Compassionate Allowance?
Typically, after submitting your application for disability benefits, you may wait as long as six months for approval. During this time, Social Security Administration agents will review your file, contact your doctors and meet with you to verify you are eligible for benefits. Once you receive a letter of approval, it may be another five months before you receive your first check. When you are struggling already, waiting as long as a year to begin receiving your benefits may be an extreme hardship.
The SSA’s Compassionate Allowance program uses computer programming to identify certain conditions that automatically qualify for benefits. These applications then move to the front of the line for approval. You will still have to wait several months for your first check to arrive, but Compassionate Allowance may cut your wait in half. Some qualifying conditions include the following:
- Aggressive cancers
- Diseases affecting the immune system
- Rare genetic conditions
- Degenerative disorders of the nervous system
- Medical conditions that have reached the terminal stage
- Certain conditions that the SSA presumes are disabling, such as deafness, blindness, Down syndrome or amputation
You may also qualify to have your application for disability benefits fast-tracked if you are in danger of becoming homeless, if you are a veteran service member who suffered a disability while on active duty or for several other reasons.
Starting the process
The surest way of understanding whether you qualify for a Compassionate Allowance is to seek the advice of a Florida attorney who has experience with Social Security laws. Your attorney can assist you with your application to minimize the chances of denial or delay. In the event the SSA rejects your claim, your attorney can advocate for you throughout the appeal process.